First and foremost, wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to all of Buckeye nation. Even in a difficult year that 2020 has been at times, there is still much to be thankful for.
In regards to Ohio State football, there’s even more to be thankful and excited about. The Buckeyes are currently undefeated, sit in the top four in the first College Football Playoff rankings, and even with team aspects that need fixing, it doesn’t look like anyone left on the regular season schedule can take down Ryan Day and this year’s Buckeye team.
Looking to other areas of thanks, you can just look at recruiting. What Ohio State is doing right now on the trail is literally incredible and realistically never seen before from this program’s standpoint. The 2021 class will be pretty much wrapped up within a few weeks and still has a chance to be the top class overall when all is said and done. Somehow, the 2022 class looks to be setting an even higher expectation, as there’s momentum in that cycle that really doesn’t look to be stopping any time soon.
Overall, there is plenty to be thankful for when you’re an Ohio State fan.
Boom coming in 2021?
It feels like every other day now that Ohio State is receiving a huge boom to their 2022 class. The momentum the Buckeyes have in that recruiting cycle is beyond anything you can explain, and it looks as if more could be on the way. The interesting aspect is that more could be coming soon to the 2022 class of course, but also in the current 2021 cycle that really only has two or three spots left in the class overall.
Yesterday, current 2021 commit Jaylen Johnson tweeted to his future teammate and fellow Buckeye commit Jordan Hancock that “we might be having a boom in the ‘21 class”. As it always does when current commits tweet potential recruiting news, Twitter began to take off with the guess of who it could be that Johnson was talking about.
Knowing too that Johnson is on the defensive side of the ball, one would think he’d be referring to another defensive player. J.T. Tuimoloau being one of the very few guys Ohio State is still in on is a possible guess, but the nation’s second-best player has long been a prospect who is going to take his time in deciding all of the way to the February signing period.
It really could be anyone’s guess, but as everyone who follows Ohio State recruiting knows there’s two Washington-based guys the Buckeyes are still in great position for, with one being the aforementioned Tuimoloau and the other the top receiver in the country for his 2021 class, Emeka Egbuka. The Buckeyes are clearly in the lead for Egbuka, and there is a chance he could commit soon, but he really wants to make a visit to Oklahoma before making his final decision.
Beyond those two guys, it’s not real clear who Johnson could have been talking about, but with three weeks until the early signing period, it could present itself sooner rather than later. It is possible he could have been talking about the 2022 cycle, but one would really think he’d be referring to his own class, as that is how these things have played out for the most part.
What about 2022?
Jumping right into it, Twitter was abuzz yesterday per usual in regards to Ohio State recruiting efforts in 2022. Five-star cornerback Domani Jackson gave some insight that later today there could be some news coming regarding his recruitment. Whether it’s an actual decision or just an update such as a final schools list announcement nobody can be sure, but still something is brewing in regards to the nation’s third-ranked prospect and top corner in the class.
1 day till....— domanijackson (@domanijackson1) November 25, 2020
Yes, Jackson is fresh off a trip to rival TTUN and has made it clear that as a youngster he was a Michigan fan, but there’s obviously been pro-Ohio State news for the California native in recent weeks. Crystal Ball predictions did come in at a rapid rate for him and the Buckeyes just a few weeks ago, and it is unclear whether the visit to Ann Arbor has swayed him. It is true that Jackson and top Michigan native defensive back Will Johnson would love to be a package deal, and with Johnson’s father being a former Wolverine himself, Michigan is the clear leader in that recruitment.
As Ohio State tries to sway Johnson to wait and visit Columbus before making a pledge, it’s important to understand that package deal recruitments, while popular, rarely happen. Hancock and linebacker Barrett Carter were thought to be a package in 2021, and now one is committed to OSU and the other Clemson. We’ll have to wait and see what today holds for Jackson, and here’s to hoping for one extra reason to be thankful.
In addition to the Jackson tweet, “Captain Buckeye” C.J. Hicks, Ohio State’s fourth-ranked player in their 2022 class, also took to his Twitter account yesterday to tease that another boom was coming for the Buckeyes. In his tweet he mentioned the word “sleeper” which tends to make you think this is a prospect not of the typical four and five-star status the 2022 class has grown so accustomed to.
Bagged another boom he’s a sleeper— CJ Hicks ♛ (@imcjhicks) November 25, 2020
Without going into too much thought, the name that pops up is 2022 receiver Kyion Grayes. A three-star receiver currently committed to his home state school Arizona, Grayes has made it no secret that he’s highly interested in Ohio State after being offered by the Buckeyes. In fact, when the recruiting dead period is lifted, Graves has said his first visit would be to Columbus.
Just a guess as to who Hicks was talking about, it’s worth mentioning that with the Buckeyes loading up on receivers, there could be potential motivation for Graves to flip his pledge to OSU soon to reserve his spot. Three-star or not, his film alone proves he’s Ohio State caliber, and he is a prospect the coaching staff very much views as a diamond in the rough a la Chris Olave in 2018.
Four-star DT includes OSU on short list
There’s not a position Ohio State doesn’t seem to be recruiting well these days, and with position coaches like the Buckeyes have, it’s pretty easy to see why the continuous trend of success in both recruiting and development keeps paying off.
On the defensive side of the ball specifically, Larry Johnson has been regarded as arguably the best defensive line coach in the country because of his incredible track record. Whether it be on the recruiting trail itself or looking at every single NFL Draft, top defensive line prospects all over the country know that if they have the opportunity to play for Johnson, more times than not it ends with a spot on an NFL roster.
With Ohio State benefiting from Johnson’s abilities time and time again, recruiting the top players at his position group every year typically pays off. Yesterday, the Buckeyes found themselves once again on a top schools list for a high-caliber defensive lineman.
IMG Academy’s Dominick James took to Twitter yesterday, releasing his top 11 schools he will be choosing from before making a final call. The 21st best defensive tackle in the class, James also checks in as the 240th player nationally per the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Making the cut for James included Penn State, Michigan, Nebraska, Auburn, Texas A&M, USC, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Ohio State. Looking at the 247Sports Crystal Ball for the 6-foot-2, 270-pound lineman, there’s yet to be a prediction, which likely means this recruitment is up for grabs.
Like with any southern prospect, it will be hard to pry the IMG Academy product from the SEC teams. Important to note though, James is originally from Alabama, so the Crimson Tide definitely are ones to watch here. If anyone can take this four-star out of the south though, Larry Johnson would be the one — especially with Ohio State’s success recruiting at IMG Academy in the past.
- Four-star wide receiver C.J. Williams (Santa Ana, California/Mater Dei) will be narrowing down his top schools later today at 5 p.m. PT. With nearly 50 scholarship offers, Williams will have to work pretty hard to bring this list to a final few. Though Ohio State seems to be recruiting receivers at a record pace, odds are the Buckeyes will make the cut here.
- MaxPreps dropped their All-State selections for the state of Ohio yesterday that included eight current Ohio State commitments coming from both the 2021 and 2022 class.